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CEFISES Seminar: Guillermo Restrepo, « The Computational History of Chemistry and the Questions it Triggers on the Philosophy of Chemistry »

2023-11-03@14:00-16:00 CET


Series: Chemistry

Speaker: Guillermo Restrepo (Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences)

Talk: « The Computational History of Chemistry and the Questions it Triggers on the Philosophy of Chemistry »



The increasing amount of data and computing power are turning computational approaches into an integral part of historians’ tools. Beyond providing novel ways to solve historical questions, computational history allows for asking and solving novel questions related to large-scale patterns. Chemistry, being the science with the largest output of publications associated with its exponential growth of new substances and reactions, is therefore not short of data. This information is today collected in huge electronic databases, which not only bring this corpus of information to our fingertips but also offer many possibilities for conducting computational analyses shedding light on the history of chemistry and the evolution of chemical knowledge. Here we summarise our results on the historical unfolding of the chemical space, understood as the collection of chemicals and reactions reported over the years in the scientific literature. To what extent does the rapid material production of chemistry lead to a rapid expansion of knowledge? How mature is chemistry based on its historical patterns? What are the ethical consequences of the expansion of the chemical space? These are some philosophical questions triggered by the historical patterns unveiled by the computational history of chemistry, which will be discussed in the talk.


Date :
Heure :
14:00-16:00 CET


Pieter Thyssen


Salle Ladrière
Place du Cardinal Mercier 14 (bâtiment Socrate, a.124)
Louvain-la-Neuve, 1348 Belgium
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